It was a beautiful, simple, bell-cut dress with delicate lace. We printed our testimony in the program as a reminder of all God had done to bring us to this pinnacle point—marriage. My white wedding dress was a visible reminder to me that I was pure, white as snow, and forgiven before the Lord. I was walking toward my future husband clothed in Christ's righteousness and aware of the deep and meaningful oneness that the night would bring.
God sought me, saved me, and made me a new creation and has given me a living hope.
My white dress did not represent a life of purity. It did not represent a young, blushing bride who had waited to know the mysteries of the intimacy reserved for the bride and groom. My white dress did not represent a born-again virgin. Rather, it represented a born-again Christian (John 3:1–15). God sought me, saved me, and made me a new creation and has given me a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3).
And yet even today, I can long for a different testimony. I can look at my past indiscretions and feel shame. This has never been heaped upon me by my loving husband, so why the struggle?
The Seriousness of Sin
I think, in part, it could be that I do understand the seriousness of sexual immorality. The Scriptures warn that the sexually immoral do not have a place in the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5). Matthew says that if a man even looks with lustful eyes, he's committed adultery (Matt. 5:28). Even Paul, a man called to celibacy, instructs the Corinthians not to withhold sex in the confines of marriage—temptation to sexual immorality is too great (1 Cor. 7:1–5).
If you have Gods Spirit, you have the power to turn and run in the other direction.
I am not defined by that old, raggedy sin. I don't need to walk in fear and shame. I've been accepted by my husband and, most importantly, by my Lord.
But I think there's more to the shame that I experience creeping up in my gut. It often comes after I've read an article or a post warning this generation of the seriousness of sexual sin. I agree with much of what I read, but then at some point I find myself being told that I won't be able to fully love my husband or that a woman doesn't lust. My head begins to burn as this coal sits and sinks down into my skull (Rom. 12:20). It's hard to be a woman with a sinful past, especially one of an impure nature. We are expected to be pure and undefiled. And most temptations to sexual sin are attributed to men. So not only are we sinful, we are also quite abnormal (at least by appearances). We are no longer even women—we are man-like.
Paul helps us again in his address to the Corinthians: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). Temptation to sexual sin is not isolated to men. Jesus knows this to be true. As He walked the earth, He interacted with prostitutes, He challenged the adulterer, and then He died for them—and for you and me.
The Hope of Christ
Here's more good news: "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13). Even now you find yourself battling daily the temptation to sexual sin. There is a way of escape. You can say no to sin. You don't have to fall into sexual sin. If you have God's Spirit, you have the power to turn and run in the other direction.
If you struggle with the shame of forgiven sin but have placed your hope in the finished—oh, thank You, Lord, that it is finished—work of Christ, then you don't have to fear punishment. You don't have to walk in shame. You don't have to long for a different testimony as if God didn't say, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Christ took it all on Him the moment He hung on that cross. You don't have to suffer your own punishment—He did for you.
I wore white on my wedding day, and I'd wear it again. I am a new creation. The old is gone. That doesn't mean I'm without temptation, but I am not defined by that old, raggedy sin. I am not defined by my past. I am born again-a Christian.
And you don't have to fear what your future spouse will think of you. Pray that God would bring you a man who is so in love with Jesus and so in love with grace that he would be able to see you as God does, clothed in Christ's righteousness. Pray that your future spouse would know the Word and what God says about sin, justification, and grace. And then believe that the Lord, who is faithful, will take care of the rest. (If your husband or husband-to-be does struggle with your past sexual history, it might be wise to seek the help of a pastor or counselor who can assist you and your marriage.)
This post was adapted from Trillia's book, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves.